(Sidney is a first year junior with Juventus, currently training with Cycling Canada's NextGen Mountain Bike Team.)
After taking some time off during the Cyclocross season, I've been gradually ramping up training for the 2016 mountain bike season.
In November, I was selected to the Canadian NextGen Mountain Bike program. Since starting with NextGen, I've been training out in Victoria at least once a month. The National Mountain Bike team is now based out of Victoria, and many national level athletes are moving to Victoria to train and go to school. It's incredible to be riding on some of the best terrain in the world, with some of the best mountain bikers in the world, and enjoying every minute of the experience.
On March 5th, I competed in the first 2016 Canada Cup Mountain Bike race at the Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria. With Junior girls coming from all across Canada to compete, and as a qualification event for the World Cup Championships, this was an important race. The race started with very fast first and second laps. I was chasing the first place racer the whole time and finished with a solid second place result.
This was my first big race in a while, and I wasn't sure where I stood nationally, so a strong 2nd place finish is positive, and I'm really happy with my result. Still lots of work to do, but I'm making good progress.
I was also recently selected to represent Canada as a member of the Junior National Mountain Bike team. I'm actually leaving in less that a week for Zurich, Switzerland. Our first race is in Rivera, Switzerland on April 3rd, then we travel to Bad Säckingen, Germany on April 9th. This trip will be an amazing learning experience. I've traveled to big races before, but dealing with eight hours of jet lag and having to race in an aggressive field within a couple days of arrival is something new for me. I will try my best.
After all the expenses - travel for training and racing, new bikes and constant repairs - my sponsors (i.e. Parents) have scaled back on my budget. They're excited I was selected for the Europe trip, but said I had to raise the money myself. I've started a GoFundMe campaign at www.sidneymcgill.com/gofundme/ to help cover the costs. Within a week I've almost raised enough to cover my hard expenses.
I'm so grateful to all my family and friends who have donated. Thank you all so much!
This upcoming Europe trip is an important stepping stone in preparation for the 2016 Mountain Bike World Championships in Nové Mesto, Czech Republic in early July. I haven't qualified for the 2016 Canadian World Cup team yet, although I'm working hard towards this goal, and should know more in May.
To prepare for the European races, the Junior team had an awesome eight day training camp in Victoria. We had so much fun together, but it was a lot of hard work. By the end, my legs were dead, but spirits were high. The National Development coach Ian Hughes will be leading us to Europe.
In February, Ian Hughes also coached the Team Alberta mountain bike camp in Victoria. More than half the people at that camp were from Juventus; including Sam Poon, Abbey McGill, Cody Shimizu, Laura MacLean, Adam Germaine and me. Again, lots of hard work, but we had a great time. The highlight of the trip was going out on a big group ride at the Hartland mountain bike park in the pouring rain and cold. We ended up getting horribly lost, as the trails were turning into rivers. Good times.
In other news, I recently launched a new personal website at www.sidneymcgill.com. I needed a place to store photos, and a simple blog to post status updates. The website also has my race calendar. Please check it out, and let me know what you think.
That is all for now. Wishing you all the best of luck this year and hope to see you on the trails!